Learning & Development

Holistic Employee Advancement: Ensuring Success Beyond Promotion

It’s what we’re all supposed to be striving for at work: the promotion. The holy grail of employment. However, according to ADP research, recently promoted people are more likely to quit their jobs.

Why might frontline workers, specifically, quit when faced with new roles? They may encounter a gap between their skills and those required for their new role. The demands of a higher-level role may require more profound knowledge without the time for additional training or learning. Meanwhile, the pressure to manage complex tasks, projects, or teams can be overwhelming, especially if the employee enjoyed high independence previously. They may find themselves managing former peers or colleagues, which can strain relationships.

These issues can lead to stress, interpersonal conflict, and a dip in productivity, motivation, and performance. For leaders charged with coaching and mentoring employees, frontline workforce management can be a difficult balancing act. You want to recognize and reward good work while retaining hard-working employees.

How to Support Frontline Workers Through Promotion

A holistic approach to promoting and assimilating workers into new roles considers the individual’s growth, development, and overall well-being within the organization. The benefits of this approach include enhanced engagement, productivity, and innovation, a more positive organizational culture, and improved retention. All contribute to the organization’s and workforce’s long-term success. So, what strategies can you put in place for holistic frontline worker management?

1. Take proactive action on well-being.

Acknowledge the importance of employees’ well-being by creating and promoting work-life balance, mental health support, and stress management resources. This ensures employees can adapt to their new roles without sacrificing their health and personal lives. It also shows that you’re actively invested in their well-being—not just as cogs in a machine but as human beings.

Taking proactive action on well-being involves implementing tangible initiatives and policies that prioritize the mental and physical health of employees. Here’s how you can actively support well-being:

  • Offer flexible hours or remote work options. For frontline workers, this could mean more autonomy in scheduling.
  • Implement programs like counseling services, stress management workshops, and regular tracking of well-being indicators to help preemptively address mental health issues.
  • Conduct frequent one-on-one meetings to discuss employees’ workloads, stress levels, and job satisfaction.
  • Cultivate a culture that encourages breaks and vacations and avoids an “always-on” mentality.
  • Host wellness initiatives like fitness challenges, yoga classes, or health education.
  • Establish channels for anonymous feedback so employees can express concerns and suggestions about their work environment and well-being.
  • Regularly acknowledge and show appreciation for employees’ efforts to boost their morale and sense of value.

Frequently assess the effectiveness of these measures through employee feedback, retention rates, and other relevant metrics to adjust as needed. Investing in well-being will pay off in higher engagement, higher retention, and lower absenteeism.

2. Create customized development plans.

Tailor development plans to each employee’s unique strengths, weaknesses, and career aspirations. Personalized development plans ease transitions and ensure employees are equipped to excel in their roles according to their goals.

Creating customized development plans requires a thoughtful and individualized approach. Ask specific questions to understand the unique strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations of each employee while taking role expectations and goals into account. These key discussion items can guide the process:

  • Identify confident skills and notable achievements.
  • Recognize areas needing improvement.
  • Understand short- and long-term career goals.
  • Determine the preferred methods and pace for learning new skills.
  • Evaluate experiences with past training programs.
  • Align the plan with personal values and fulfilling work aspects.

By engaging in open conversations with employees, you can gain valuable insights into their needs and preferences. This information can then be used to design development plans tailored to the unique attributes and aspirations of each employee.

You can use digital learning management systems, training programs, workshops, or educational resources to offer tailored courses and resources to suit employees’ next steps. This helps them adapt to and thrive in their new roles. An employee promoted to a technical role, for example, can use online coding platforms to refine their programming skills as they work. These platforms can also provide continuous feedback so that problems are uncovered quickly and employees feel cared for.

3. Set employees up with support systems.

Feeling alone quickens burnout. Setting up coaching programs and encouraging mentorships allows for the transfer of knowledge and skills while fostering a supportive environment. Technology can facilitate mentorship programs by matching mentors and mentees based on their profiles and preferences. For instance, a digital platform could pair a newly promoted employee in the marketing department with an experienced marketer from another location, enabling virtual mentorship.

Setting up coaching and mentorship relationships for newly promoted employees is crucial for their success and well-being. Focus on these aspects for success:

  • Transfer of knowledge and skills:
    • Comprehensive orientation and resource access.
    • Opportunities to learn from experienced colleagues.
    • Targeted training to address skill gaps.
  • Supportive environment:
    • Culture of transparency and open dialogue.
    • Frequent meetings to discuss progress and concerns.
    • Constructive feedback loop between mentors and employees.
    • Valuing employees’ efforts and achievements.
  • Successful mentor relationships:
    • Mentors aligned with organizational culture and values.
    • Mentorship goals match the employee’s and organization’s objectives.
    • Defined expectations for mentor-mentee interactions.
    • Digital tools for virtual interactions and resource sharing.

Knowledge and skills transfer should be a dynamic process, adapting to the evolving needs of the newly promoted employee. A supportive environment involves not only professional guidance, but also emotional support, recognizing the individual’s journey and challenges. Regular assessments of the mentorship program’s effectiveness and feedback from both mentors and mentees can help fine-tune the process for continuous improvement.

Strategic promotion can be a retention tool in today’s competitive market, but it will only work if managers can look beyond promotion for its own sake and instead use it to send a message of encouragement and support. Successful frontline workforce management relies on a holistic approach, one that values individuality, acknowledges challenges, and focuses on sustainable development.

Merel van der Lei is the CEO of Wyzetalk, a leading digital employee experience platform that enables communication and improves engagement for frontline and non-desk workers. With over 20 years of experience, Merel has a wealth of knowledge in business and product strategy, employee engagement and experience solutions, designing impactful products, and leveraging the power of empathy and feedback for people and solution growth.

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